Don’t like working the boardroom? Nervous about pitching your product? I can’t say you’re alone. Most people who know me now would probably say that they find this hard to believe, but I used to be shy. Maybe shy isn’t the right word. It’s hard to describe. I felt like I didn’t belong, like the people I was surrounded by were smarter than me, and often when I was in a corporate meeting, like I was only there by chance, by some stroke of luck. I didn’t feel like I ever really knew or had the right thing to say. But I’ve changed.
I realize now that I’m there for a reason, for a purpose. I’m there because they’ve asked ME. I wield the power. I have the information. I have the idea. Once I felt more comfortable, I started enjoying presenting my product and interacting with new people much, much more. And I was finally able to be myself. And when you’re yourself, you find your voice. My enthusiasm finally shone through. And we all know enthusiasm is contagious.
If I don’t have the answer, I say so. If I don’t know what a word means, I ask (or write it down and look it up later!). I’m so much more excited about my work now that I don’t feel so nervous and out of place.
Know that it’s not only what you say, but also how you interact, that reflects how confident and comfortable you feel. Smile. Shake hands. They say that people really only hear a very small amount of what you actually say; what are you saying with your body?
If you have a presentation coming up soon, try to get there early and meet people before you have to speak. Make a special effort to introduce yourself and be brief, but genuine. You’ll already have allies in the crowd. Sooner than later, your ease will grow!
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 25 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas and the skills needed to succeed. You can and listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.